Foreign Born ISIS Fighters And Their Twitter Supporters

 

Western ISIS Fighters

In a report released last year, the Soufan Group provided insights into the demographic make-up of the nebulous ISIS organization.  They found that more than 12,000 fighters, representing 81 countries, had joined the civil war in Syria.  Surprisingly, many Western countries were represented in large numbers, with France representing the largest fraction of Western fighters.  The following figure reflects the best available count of foreign fighters in ISIS.

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Twitter support for ISIS from the West

A report published this year, by the Brookings Institute, investigated the role twitter plays for ISIS.  Among many findings, the researchers determined that there are approximately 46,000 twitter supporters of ISIS.  In one analysis, the researchers sought to determine the location of the aforementioned twitter accounts and is so doing were able to determine the locational identity of 7% of the supporters.  Interestingly, the United States was ranked 4th, just below Syria and Iraq, in twitter supporters.  Although the research methods used were robust, the researchers cautioned that the U.S. numbers could be inflated.

"We are reasonably certain some ISIS supporters deceptively listed locations in the United States in order to create the appearance of a homeland threat."

The results of the twitter supporter analysis are reflected in the below figure.